Shabbat Parashat Shemot| 5765
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - Farewell Address to K’far Haroeh (5726) - Part II - From Gaon Batorah U’vamidot, pp. 301-304
[Last time we brought Rav Yisraeli’s opening comments about the need for the community of K’far Haroeh to continue with its philosophy that mundane activities must be done under the influence of the sacred.]
I was drawn to K’far Haroeh by its members’ desire to build a special type of community without being overly driven by materialistic concerns. I felt comfortable coming to play my role as rav with a feeling of “the two walked together” [based on Bereishit 22:6]. There was no feeling of competing for stature, but there was a desire to work together. The rabbinate deals with one realm, and the rav is expected to fill in that which the member does not have the opportunity to do. While the rav’s “profession” is Torah, the member of the moshav can only “steal time” from his schedule to set aside for Torah study. The goal was that there should not be an intrinsic separation between the rav and the community, just a distribution of responsibilities, with all progressing together toward the Kingdom of David, the anointed one.
This idea of “the two walked together” was the guiding principle between the generations of our forefathers. Avraham had already gone through several trying tests of his faith, and could claim to his credit an impressive list of accomplishments. Akeidat Yitzchak,which he was in the process of successfully carrying out, was the final one. Yitzchak was, at that point, a young sapling who had just begun to be tested and was not yet an expert in the art of spiritual struggle. Yet Avraham did not boast his accomplishments to his son. He shared the same trepidation as Yitzchak on the way to his first, great trial. Indeed, they walked together as one.
One should never live on the laurels of past accomplishments, because that is a sign that the person’s voyage in life has been completed. This world is one of walking and progressing. Avraham acted as if he had not yet done a thing. In that atmosphere, Yitzchak was able to feel more confident of his ability to walk together with his illustrious father. If today’s youth acts with some suspicion toward adults it is perhaps because their elders seem to always be saying, “We did. We built...”. This over-reliance on past accomplishments is what distances the hearts of sons from their fathers.
The Rebbe from Kutz had an idiom based on the liturgical phrase, “For You, Hashem, remember everything that has been forgotten.” He said that if a person does something wrong and remembers with regret what he did, then Hashem will agree to forget it. If a person does something good and does not dwell on it, then Hashem will dwell on it. But if a person does something good and remembers it to his own credit, then Hashem will forget it. It is primarily the forgotten things that Hashem remembers.
Baruch Hashem, we, at K’far Haroeh, have accomplished with Hashem’s help. We have established things and have withstood challenges. But this just makes us obligated to reinvigorate ourselves toward the future. We remember the past not to be boastful but to remember how to succeed now. Let us ask ourselves: if there was once a spirit of pioneering, why can’t we replicate it now? Why shouldn’t we be able to live simply in the material realm or dance without worrying about what tomorrow will bring, as we did when we started out? Certainly, the personal strength that enabled us to act in that way is still within us. We need only to reactivate it.
[We conclude next week.]
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